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Greene's Arcadia.



Southwell's Triumphs over Death.


Breton's Characters, and his Good and the Bad.

5. PART THE SEVENTH. Nash's Christ's Tears over Jerusalem.





Hen the commencement of the present Selection of reprinted Tracts was announced in March 1814, words were used in the Prospectus, to which, at the conclusion, the Editor will not shrink from recurring.

“ Great care," it was said, “ will be exercised in the selection of these Tracts; which will be chosen out of such as illustrate the character of our ancient literature; the manners and customs of the times; and the taste of the people, at the period of their publication ; of such as are frequently referred to by historians and critics of enlarged and deep research, like Warton ; and which being at present, in consequence of their rarity, inaccessible to all but a few rich and lucky Collectors, would thus be opened to the liberal curiosity of the studious and inquisitive. Among these are many of the Tracts of Robert Greene, with those of Gabriel Harvey, Thomas Lodge, Thomas Nash, John Lilly, some of Nicholas Breton, and several others. Mere pamphlets of a temporary or local nature, remarkable for nothing but their scarcity, will not be allowed a place in this Collection.”


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The same Prospectus having announced a Collection of scarce
Poetical Tracts to be edited by Mr. Park, under the title of
HELICONIA, it was added, that,

“ These two Collections of the ARCHAICA and HELICONIA
will mutually illustrate each other; and according to the plan pro-
posed for editing them, will form a singularly interesting body of
old English literature, exemplifying the progress of our language,
and the mental habits of the nation; and facilitating that intimacy
with the polite literature of our ancestors, which enlarges the taste,
and gratifies that veneration for the past, so congenial to every
feeling and cultivated understanding.”

In looking back on the expectations here raised, the Editor is sure that his coadjutor has well fulfilled his task; and as to the Prose Tracts, though execution is so apt to fall short of the first warm hopes of design, he will not feel much dismayed if the intelligent Censor shall candidly try him by the terms thus recorded. It is true that no piece either of Lodge or Lilly has found its place in this Collection. The reason is obvious. It has been deemed prudent to make it less voluminous than was at first intended.

Has any thing been done then, by this editorial labour, to forward the sound purposes of literature, and give food to the cultivated and inquisitive mind? It must be recollected, that not one of the authors here revived was obscure in his own day. Each of them had the power to interest his cotemporaries, and perhaps no unimportant influence over their opinions and their conduct. The language and the manners of one of the most energetic and instructive æras of our history are here reflected as in a mirror.

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